Five most common training myths busted

From doing your cardio while hungry, to avoiding strength training because you don’t want to ‘bulk’ up, The Fit Pharmacist busts the most common training myths.

While the myths around healthy eating and fat loss abound, there are just as many misconceptions surrounding the best ways to exercise for fat loss.

Let’s eliminate some confusion and help you improve your results.

Myth #1: Doing heaps of cardio is the best way to lose fat

If your goal is fat loss, going to town on the treadmill for hours a day isn’t the best way to achieve this.

While traditional cardio workouts will help to increase your calorie deficit (in addition to a healthy diet) it isn’t the most efficient way to lose fat.

The most effective way to burn fat, increase your metabolism and improve your body composition is to build muscle.

And the best way to do this is? Strength training!

Having more lean muscle mass helps your body burn more calories when at rest.

Therefore, the most effective fat loss program will include a combination of strength training, cardio and a proper nutrition strategy.

Myth #2: Strength training makes women look manly

This is my favourite! Many women are afraid to lift weights because they are afraid of getting bulky, and by that they generally mean gaining a significant amount of muscle mass.

It’s pretty hard for women to bulk up from a normal strength training routine because they don’t have nearly as much testosterone as men.

Strength training is actually the most effective way to build muscle, lose fat and create sexy curves.

Women who carry a lot of muscle have likely worked very hard for it, over a significant amount of time.

Myth #3: Sweating a lot during your workout means you burn more fat

Your body creates sweat to cool you down when your body temperature gets too high. How much you sweat depends on the number of sweat glands you have (more glands equals more sweat).

Women tend to have more sweat glands than men, but men’s glands are more active, so they often sweat more.

The amount you sweat also depends on how hot it is, how intensely you’re exercising and what you are wearing.

The weight we lose through sweating is replenished as soon as we rehydrate. Don’t use the amount you sweat as an indicator of the number of calories you’ve burned – worry about your training duration and intensity.

If you do a 60-minute training session and don’t sweat at all, you have still burned the same amount of calories compared to if you sweated out an ocean.

Myth #4: Lower weights and higher reps are better for fat loss

If you think that doing a lot of reps with low weights will give you that shredded look, think again.

Many think that performing higher reps with a lighter weight burns more fat and ‘tones’ the muscle, whereas lower reps with a heavier weight builds muscle and makes you look bulky.

The first thing you need to realise is that when you want to lose body fat, it is going to be primarily determined by your diet. That is, you need to be in a calorie deficit.

Therefore, the only way that higher repetitions would allow you to lose fat is if you were burning more calories than you were consuming.

In order to stimulate your muscles in the most efficient manner, you need to give them a variety of stimuli in training, which means variation in reps, tempo, volume, frequency, and lifting techniques.

The focus of your training should always be to lift heavier because to grow you have to progressively overload your muscles. Therefore, the best way to lose fat is to lift challenging weights using a variety of rep ranges and loads while in a calorie deficit!

Myth #5: Fasted cardio burns more fat than fed cardio

Have you ever crawled out of bed and reluctantly performed your morning cardio while half asleep because you have been told that it burns more fat? I know I have.

Well thankfully, you don’t have to anymore!

In a study for the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine, 20 young females, all healthy and with recent aerobic training experience (but not resistance training) were divided into two groups.

All participants were prescribed the same calorie-restricted diet along with the same steady-state cardio routine. The only variable was that one group (FED) would be given a shake before performing cardio, while the other (FASTED) would wait to consume the shake post-workout.

The results?

Everyone lost fat, but it had nothing to do with fasting or not fasting. It seems what the participants benefitted from the most was the fact that all subjects were on calorie-restricted diets.

Therefore, you can eat before you do cardio or eat after, as long as you are in total calorie deficit.

If you have any further questions for Holly about strength training (or even cardio!), feel free to use our contact form.

Holly Louise, aka The Fit Pharmacist, is a registered pharmacist, certified personal trainer, online coach and ambassador for INC Sports Nutrition. Through evidence-based nutrition and training methods, Holly Louise helps others create healthy and sustainable lifestyle change. Holly Louise is also a champion of flexible dieting and positive body image and has created a large community of women who support and empower each other to become their best selves.
Find out more about Holly Louise on Instagram, Facebook and at The Fit Pharmacist.